Last year, Steve Scott, a Service Technician for Cobb Technologies, and veteran of the World Marathon Challenge, ran 168 miles from Danville, Virginia, to Cobb’s headquarters in Glenn Allen, Virginia to raise money for Cobb’s charitable arm, Imprint.
This year, four other runners are joining Steve for a 350-mile relay race across Virginia, ending at Cobbtoberfest 2021. In this interview, we talk to Steve about the World Marathon Challenge, last year’s run, and this year’s upcoming run.
To learn more about Cobbtoberfest 2021, visit Imprint’s event page.
How did you get started with running?
I used to play racquetball all the time, and when they built a new YMCA in Danville, they didn't have racquetball courts, and I needed to find something fun to do. A friend of mine said, “Hey, let’s start running.” So I started running a little bit at a time so I could get up to doing 10Ks and a half marathon to a marathon. His name was Rick power. Um, he‘s a friend of mine. We played racquetball together, actually. He was the one who decided to start running, but eventually he stopped. And the rest is history.
That it is. So after you started running, you pretty quickly started doing marathons. Can you tell me what that time period was?
I did my first marathon in 2016 in Myrtle Beach. So it was you know, a couple year process to get there. But I ran back in 2015, I ran my first half marathon at Myrtle Beach. And then after I finished that, I told myself I wanted to come back to Myrtle Beach and run my first full marathon. And by doing that, I was able to qualify for the Boston, so then I went and ran the Boston Marathon after that.
So after the Boston Marathon, how did you find out about the 7-7-7?
You know, it's like I said, when I ran Boston that year, it was like, the weather was just — the wind was blowing, it was 22 degrees Windchill. I was running in snow, sleet, rain, it was crazy. And after I did that, I just told myself, you know, I just said, “God, if I'm gonna do this, I’d like to do this to help people.” And then after that, you know, I just started praying about it, and then the 7-7-7 start being on my heart. So I kind of researched that. And I said, this what I need to do, and then I ended up raising money and the money was coming in, and everything happened, I was able to do it. You know, it was a Godly thing for me. So it was just a crazy thing to do.
So I had to raise money for that, I ran from Greensboro to Danville, which was — I'll say, it was like 36 miles — that was the beginning of the kickoff for the fundraising. And so I did that, and we were able to raise about $600 doing that. But I took all that because I was also running for the Danville Cancer Association for awareness of that. So I felt like I just needed to give all that money to cancer research. So we ended up giving them the $600 instead of putting it toward what I was gonna do, because, again, it was meant to be. It was going to happen, you know.
And so at that point, the people that were on board members were kind of against taking the money we raised, because we had raised it for the 7-7-7. But I just told them that it was on my heart, and they should give it to cancer research. And that's what we did. So after that, some other stuff opened up for us to raise money and people were donating. So again, it was just all open doors from there.
So, you have lived basically your entire life in Virginia, you're from a small town. What's it like getting on a plane and all of a sudden being in Africa?
It was crazy! It was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. And believe it or not, I was more intimidated than anything, because, you know, again, I've never been out of the country. I've never been in London. You know, Cape Town, I've never been to these places. I guess it was more intimidation because I was going to fly for 18 hours to London, then I had to get back on and fly another 20 hours to Cape Town. I'm by myself this whole time on the flight. And then I had a seven hour layover in London at that airport. So it was kind of cool, because I got to see a different culture there, too, of how people dressed. It was, it was nice to see that too. But it was scary — intimidating.
Usually the 7-7-7 starts out with the race in Antarctica, but because of the weather, it was canceled. So you did Africa first. What's it like when you're prepared, you're already on a crazy adventure, one which you kind of know what to expect a little bit in terms of your schedule, and then your schedule just…
Goes crazy? Yeah. You know, the guy that was hanging us the whole time, he would tell us, “Don't worry about what happens, don't try to be in control of what's going on. Let me handle that.” I really listened to him on that and just, kind of went with it. But I will say, the second time, we went to the airport getting ready to go to Antarctica, and then we were turned back away, and we found out we were going back to run the first marathon, that was emotional. Because you know, you’re going to Antarctica, where you lose all communications with anybody, you go to a place where there's nothing there.
And again, you don't know what to expect. And so you normally get prepared to go do that, and you're ready to go do it, you’re mentally mentally, then all of a sudden, you’re shut off. And you just have to retract to what you got to do. And just kind of refocus, I guess, but it was tough. But again, you got to realize what you're there to do and what you're there for. And that's to you know, get the runs in there, get it done and bring awareness to cancer research. And again, just getting it done. So that was my goal.
Since we've already talked pretty extensively about the 7-7-7, so let’s move on to your Cobbtober 2020 run. But before we get to that, is there anything that you want readers to know about, about the 7-7-7 or your experience with it?
It was a cool experience. It’s kind of cool, because now I've got people coming around with me that ran with me. So it's kind of a homecoming for us to come back together. For some of us, the timing just didn't work out on our schedule, but, the people that are coming up are the ones that are meant to be here, because that those individuals’ personalities. That's what it's going to take to do what we got to do, because to be honest with you, as much as we're getting ready to run — It's more than we did on the 7-7-7.
So, that's the way I talked about it the other week when we were all on Zoom talking. It’s kind of incredible. When you got that much support, you know, as a team. These people are very compassionate about what they do and about people’s needs and things like that. And they know we're running for kids, and where the money's going and things like that. And that means a lot to them.
Is there anything that you're going to do differently in preparation for this year’s Cobbtober Run?
Yeah. I’ve already drove the route out a few weeks ago, and I'm actually probably in the next week going to do it again, just to make sure I've got everything right and the directions we go in. I've had to set up time goals this time on hitting certain areas or certain times so we can avoid traffic and things like that. But you know, last year, last year was was crazy. It was fine, but it was crazy. But this year, I guess it's cool that I've been through that because it helps me prepare for the people coming in, and to be able to look into what's going on. Preparation for last year — I think it went pretty well — and after it was over, I just thanked God for giving me an opportunity to do it. I'm glad I was able to raise money and I pray that we can raise just as much as last time. To give it to the kids. One cool thing about this time is we're actually having a live Cobbtoberfest, so hopefully, we might meet some of the kids and have more of a crowd. It makes it a little bit more personal. But as for preparation, my training is changing a little bit as of today preparing for the runs that I've got to do during the time I'm running. So my preparation is changing some of the training. This time I'm putting in more mileage between now and the 24th. I'll probably try to build up between now and then. I'm probably running about 40 miles now a week. I'll probably between now in the next two weeks get up to about 80, then after that I want to try to go one week at least hit 100, and just be a little bit more prepared on the body side for the run that we're doing.
Speaking of mileage, last year’s run was 168 miles and this year’s is 350. Obviously it's not just you this time. Is every single runner going to be running every single day?
Pretty much. Some of the runners, like Linda — she’s actually preparing for a run she's going to be doing in March, so she's going to be limited to how many miles she can run a day. And then Allison, she's a rabbit so she can go, but again she's had some injuries, so just in case I'm really training to be prepared to go when they can't run. So yeah, I think as of right now everybody's planning on running every day, but if injuries fall into place and things like that, then we'll have to double up on what we got to do.
So again, that's the reason and I want to be able to hit my mileage and my training. I’m starting to pick it up so if someone gets injured I can go out and run 20 miles all of a sudden. Now when first start out I'm going to probably pick up the first 20 miles to get us going. The first three days are going to be pretty tough days because we're gonna be averaging 70 miles a day, and we’ve got to start at a certain time and try to be done by a certain time. We’ve got to pace our time; who's going to be at what pace. If I've got to get out there and run an eight minute pace or whatever for 20 miles, then you know I've got to go do that, because we’ve got to be able to follow the time limits we’re on this time, because of the miles we’ve got to do daily.
So all in all, individually, are you going to be running more miles in this year’s race compared to last year’s?
Oh, I could worry. Let's leave it at that. Because I again, you know, I'll have my Garmin watch with me. So I'll send it to you daily letting you know what's going on.
Please do! I would love that, that'd be awesome.
So there's two routes that I've looked at, and that's reason I'm gonna ride it out again. And I'm corresponding with some of the police departments through the areas we’re running through. Because when you get in the northern Virginia area, we got a time thing there with traffic and all.
So we logistically got to hit everything right. I talked to a police department from Prince William today, and they were talking to me about times of doing a certain route to bypass traffic and things like that. So again, it's a lot more detailed this time than last year, because of the areas we're going into. I'm almost done with the planning.
What’s it like to be the person doing the planning for the run?
It's stressful, it's stressful. But no, you know, it’s part of what we do, you know, it's part of what I do as a runner. And we give back to the community, you know, and that's what I tell myself. It's just little details because I'm a detail person, I just want everything to fall in place. So I find myself looking at my notes 10 times a day. I'll go through there and look and just read over them and I'll say, “Okay, I don't like that.” So I'll fix that and things like that, but it's stressful. But again, it's a good stress. And it's for a good reason. It’s fun to me.
For example, the guy from Prince William I was talking to was laughing. I was laughing and Sandra started laughing and talking about everything we’re going to do. The stress just goes away, you know? So all the stress is cool, too. So, hope that answers your question.
What are you looking forward to the most about this run?
Getting to the finish line. This year is real, you know, and last year was real. But we've come a long ways. This year it's just going be a little more special because we can all come back together, and be smart about it. But still it's totally fun and that's the reason I want to try to encourage everybody to come, to bring their kids, enjoy the music and food, it’s time to let your hair down and have a good time. I want to come across that finish line. It's going to be totally different from last year — I look really forward to doing that and I look forward to the run with the people from 7-7-7. That's going to be awesome too. But again, you know my priority — I hate to say this, but when I get involved with stuff like this it's business to me, because you’ve got to stay on priority with what you're doing — you’ve got to stay focused. You have fun, but you know what you’re out there for, the kids. Most of the people that I have talked to — police departments and motels — and when I tell them what we're doing it for they all just humbled themselves. That's when your stress blows off, because you're saying “Okay, you know we're doing the right things.” And again it's just confirmation, you know you're doing the right things, but just being an influence in people's lives as we do this, and the difference we can make for the kids.